Dutch students still hesitant to go abroad
While this coming academic year in higher education is looking somewhat more pre-pandemic normal, with open lecture halls and no social distancing, students who had study plans abroad are still hesitant to commit. Two thirds of these students postponed, canceled or shortened their plans abroad due to the lingering uncertainty with how the coronavirus pandemic will develop in the coming months, Trouw reports based on research by Nuffic, an organization for the internationalization of education.
Nuffic doesn't yet have hard figures for how many students will be going abroad this semester. But it is clear that the uncertainties around travel restrictions are resulting in hesitancy, the organization said to Trouw.
Universities' international offices, which approve internship and exchange programs abroad, are also noticing this hesitancy. "On one hand, students will be hesitant because there are many uncertainties associated with travel," a spokesperson for the University of Amsterdam said to Trouw. "But the area where they can go is also smaller." The Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen even advised students to stay within Europe. "Then you are more flexible. There is less chance of cancellation," the university said to the newspaper.
According to Nuffic, nearly a quarter of the 799 students it surveyed chose a different destination for studies abroad, mostly within the European Union. Only a tenth said they chose to stay closer for to home themselves. Nearly half said they had no other choice - the educational institution decided to keep them within the EU borders.
"It is really a pity for students," a spokesperson for the association of Dutch universities VSNU said to Trouw. While studying abroad, students get to know themselves and learn to work with other cultures - important lessons to learn and useful in the labor market one day, the VSNU said. It also has added value for the Netherlands. "The students are the face of the Netherlands abroad."